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Bioinformatics - Tobacco Genome Project

TGI DATA is now released to the public domain. Academic Transfer Agreement researchers will no longer need to use their user names and passphrases to access the data. The sequence has been added to GenBankŪ and is also available on this site.

The goal of the Tobacco Genome Initiative (TGI) is to sequence and annotate more than 90% of the open reading frames in the genome of cultivated tobacco, Nicotiana tabacum L. Although tobacco has been cultivated for more than 500 years and is a crop of great economic significance, relatively little information exists on its genome structure and organization.

N. tabacum is an amphiploid species (2n=48) likely resulting from an interspecific cross between N. sylvestris (2n=24) and N. tomentosiformis (2n=24), and at approximately 4.5 billion base pairs has a very large genome size compared with other cultivated solanaceous plants. The TGI includes partial sequencing of the genome of N. benthamiana, an amphiploid species with 38 chromosomes, that is closely related to N. tabacum and is an important model host used to study plant-disease interactions.

A number of important research goals will be greatly enhanced with the data generated within the TGI. A complete gene catalogue will provide the raw information to investigate physiological and genetic processes in the tobacco plant, a widely used model in plant biotechnology. Tobacco genomics may lead to the elucidation of genetic factors that impact constituents associated with tobacco consumption. Understanding these processes may potentially contribute to achieving the goal of reducing the harm associated with cigarette smoking. In addition, important agronomic traits such as disease and pest resistance genes would be identified, and thus be available for use in traditional and molecular breeding projects that aim at enhancing the performance of tobacco as a crop in different environments. Finally, N. tabacum, is a member of the agriculturally important Solanaceae family, which also includes tomato, potato, eggplant and pepper crop plants. All of these plants may benefit from gene discovery in tobacco.

The TGI is housed in the laboratories of the Plant Pathology Department of the North Carolina State University Centennial Campus, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (Raleigh, NC). The Tobacco Genome Initiative is supported by Philip Morris USA, Inc.


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